May 30, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump on conviction: "I'm a very innocent man"

Trump inside pen

Trump outside the courtroom after the verdict. Photo: Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images

Minutes after becoming the first sitting or former U.S. president convicted of a felony, Donald Trump condemned what he called a "rigged, disgraceful trial" and declared that the "real verdict" will come on Election Day in November.

Why it matters: Polls suggest some voters might be hesitant to back a convicted criminal. Trump portrayed himself as the victim of a "corrupt" prosecution and the only man who can save the U.S., which he said has "gone to hell."

What he's saying: "This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. ... They wouldn't give us a venue change," Trump said, referring to his unsuccessful efforts to move the trial of out New York City.

  • "The real verdict is gonna be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here," Trump continued.
  • Trump claimed, without evidence, that the legal proceedings were orchestrated by the Biden administration to hurt him politically. "We'll fight to the end and we'll win."
  • "We didn't do a thing wrong. I'm a very innocent man. It's OK, I'm fighting for our country, I'm fighting for our Constitution," Trump said.

Trump jumped back and forth in his brief remarks between complaints about the case against him and dark proclamations about the state of the country, which he called "a nation in serious decline."

  • He repeated his unsubstantiated claims that "millions" of people are "pouring" across the border, including from prisons and mental institutions.

The other side: The Biden campaign said in a statement that despite Thursday's verdict "there is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president."

What's next: Judge Juan Merchan set sentencing for July 11. He could sentence Trump to prison but may opt for probation as the charges are in the least-serious felony category under New York law.

  • Trump will almost certainly appeal, likely pushing the proceedings beyond the election.

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